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Encore! Presser Hall is Re-dedicated

The Berea College Music Department celebrated the newly renovated Presser Hall and Gray Auditorium on Friday, May 7, 2004 with a performance by students and faculty and remarks by trustees, administrators, faculty and students. More than 100 guests, which included College trustees, administrators, staff, and students, as well as many Berea residents, attended "Musical Horizons: Expanding Our Vision - The Re-dedication of Presser Hall and Gray Auditorium."

John Courter, professor of music, performs on the Presser Stage.

The ceremony acknowledged the finished building that will continue serving generations of students for many decades to come. Following the re-dedication of Presser Hall ceremony and concert from 5:00 - 6:00 pm, a reception and open house was held from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. There were student tour guides showing people around Presser Hall. Tour groups could hear the Recorder Ensemble as played. Afterward, President Shinn and Mrs. Shinn hosted the trustees at a dinner at the backyard of Presser Hall, where they could view the mountains and forests.

In the Fall of 2003, the newly renovated facilities of Presser Hall and Gray Auditorium was once again ready to serve students. The new facilities of Presser Hall and Gray Auditorium provide a state of the art teaching and learning environment that also meets high standards in ecological sustainability," said Tim Jordan. Cassandra Redcorn, one of few remaining students who was here before the renovations, said, "Overall, the Presser Hall is more accessible, brighter, and more lovable than ever before."

Presser Hall now is completely handicap accessible and has a restroom on every floor. The building now has many more practice rooms that are sound proof for students to practice their music. In order to have good sound, the Gray Auditorium roof was raised fourteen feet higher and the stage was expanded. The organ used to be on the right side next to the windows, but it was moved to the center of the stage --- the location of the organ when the building was originally constructed. "Today, Presser Hall and Gray Auditorium retain many distinctive features from the original construction and have added many new features continuing its legacy of providing an excellent learning and teaching environment" said President Shinn.

The building's original dedication ceremony was on May 29, 1931, and the mission was to serve students. However, Presser Hall was 70 years old, and was under a critical condition that was needed to be re-constructed. The building had structural damage, and it was "slipping down the hill side." The Presser Hall and the Gray Auditorium was under construction in 2002, and was completed in November 2003.

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